Aeon Zen - Enigma

Aeon Zen Enigma cover
Aeon Zen
Nightmare Records
Finally Aeon Zen or Rich Hinks who is the leading force behind them, became a proper band with a “permanent” singer, Andi Kravljaca, a drummer, Steve Burton, a keyboardist, Shaz, & a guitarist, Matt Shepherd. Rich of course is still the songwriter, producer/guitarist/bassist and also does some vocals for the band.
Leaving the solitude days behind, this UK based prog rock/metal band is presenting a new album that harmonically blends various different styles together. This is the first impression when someone listens to the album. Still the final outcome is prog, with lots of atmospheric passages, prog rock elements and extreme metal parts. That thing would probably “confuse” the traditional prog metal freaks, but someone like me, who’s not a prog devotee, will find it quite compelling. The Devin Townsend Project influences are obvious here and there. Perhaps it was the tour with Devin that had influenced Rich as well.
Heavy, extreme, wild & metal on the one hand, while atmospheric, melodic, rock & soft on the other… that changing of moods works fairly well, I have to say. The sax parts are awesome, I wish there was more sax on the songs. Moreover, the guest appearances of: Nate Loosemore (Lost In Thought), Atle Pettersen (Above Symmetry) & Jonny Tatum (Eumeria) are indeed offering that something extra on the songs. Produced, mixed & mastered by Rich Hinks for once more, the production couldn’t have been less than great.
“Enigma” needs time and careful listens. No need to lie here. If you do not have any of them, then better stay away for you won’t even get what this album has to give. I have been listening to this album for more than one week now, every now and then, and I’m still getting something new with each play. The video for “Divinity” may be a bit misleading for the progsters as it shows a more “brutal” side of the band but it would not be appropriate to draw safe conclusions by that song. There’s a lot of musical diversity on the album. Why the band & label have chosen “Divinity” to promote the album I can’t say, but I would also have released another video or lyric video, if you prefer, for “Turned to Ash” or “Seven Hills”, just to showcase that music variety. I feel that those 9 tracks could have easily been a 45 minute tune. I haven’t heard the two bonus tracks so I can tell anything about them.
The fact the band’s third release is presenting such an enhancement in every part, is something that raises the bar for the future releases of Aeon Zen. They have taken the right way and they’re totally getting there. They need to be a bit cautious though and more credits will come along the way. Aeon Zen know how to honor the term “progressive” and they are already making a major opening to a bigger audience with this album. After all, “Enigma” is the Best Album for January and that places it, without ado, among the top releases for 2013…